THE FOLDING HAWK-EYE, 5X7, NO. 2         MODEL OF 1892

  Blair Camera Company, Boston, Massachusetts                           1892 - 1894



Introduced in 1892 alongside the 5x7 Folding Hawk-Eye, No.1, the Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2 also appears in the Illustrated Catalogue of Blair's Hand Cameras and Films  for July 1893.  Like the 5x7 Folding Hawk-Eye, No. 1, it was capable of holding three of Blair's Feather-Weight Holders or using a 50-exposure roll holder.  I've designated this camera the Model of 1892, to distinguish it from the later Model of 1894 that incorporated design changes to the lens board frame.  The No. 2 Model of 1892 was probably being manufactured into mid-1894, but by September, 1894, Anthony began marketing it in their Illustrated Catalogue of Photographic Equipments and Materials for Amateurs with an abbreviated lens board frame.


This Model of 1892 version is identical to engravings that appear in Blair's catalogues through at least 1896. By 1897, the Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2 is no longer listed, the only camera in this series that remained being the 6-1/2 x 8-1/2 Folding Hawk-Eye.

The No. 2 was equipped with a double sliding front, as specified in Blair's catalogues.   As such, the lens board was capable of moving side-to-side or up and down.  Inside the camera's top door can be found patent dates of March 29,1887 and May 20,1890.

The Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2 is usually seen with a French-polished ebony finished bed, the finish being a hallmark of the Folding Hawk-Eye series. However, some examples have been seen with leather-covered beds. These leather-bed versions sometime exhibit body coverings in brown leather, rather than the black leather typically seen.  In some cases, beds featured a shorter center track versus the full-length seen on most examples today. The reasoning behind the abbreviated track is unconfirmed, but at some point, possibly Blair didn't see the need for a full-length track once the standard was pulled forward beyond the bed hinge; with the lens standard aligned to that point, the rack-and-pinion would stay square for the remaining travel.  Blair's factory engravings for the Folding Hawk-Eye, 5x7, No. 2, depicted it with the full-length center track though the end of production.


                                        Leather-covered bed                                          Ebony finished bed



                   Abbreviated center track on leather bed                   Standard center track on ebony bed



Among Blair's Folding Hawk-Eye series, the No. 2 Model of 1892 with an ebony finished bed is the most common version seen, followed by the leather-covered bed. And, among the leather-covered beds, the brown versions in this model are almost never seen. As it is with many of Blair's cameras from the 1890's, the No. 2 Model of 1892 can be considered very scarce as examples come to market very infrequently.


                                    Brown leather-covered version